POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 1, 2011
Question: Recently we received a registration renewal notice from the city Division of Motor Vehicles that was completely different from what we’ve received for the past
20 years. We were not informed of the change or what is different in procedure and requirements. It erroneously claimed that our safety inspection had expired — apparently a glitch in the system. It also failed to mention the option remained to go to a satellite city hall to renew. I understand the need for austerity and increased efficiency, but with a large population of senior citizens and immigrants, we should explain in plain language the reason for changing a long-standing system and what the changes are.
Answer: The much-streamlined motor vehicle registration notice being sent to owners is meant to save about $115,500 a year, said Dennis Kamimura, administrator of the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division.
The city began replacing the old registration renewal “application forms” with registration renewal “notices” in May, for registrations expiring June 30.
The new notice — a one-page form folded in half and spot-glued — contains the same renewal information that was provided on the old form, Kamimura said.
But a return envelope no longer is included, and the general “special instructions” that were printed on the top of the registration form have been “personalized,” meaning they now apply only to the vehicle named on the notice, he said. Also removed are the breakdowns of taxes and fees.
Kamimura said the instructions do note the website — www3.honolulu.gov/mvrfeeinq — where the total amount due is explained. You have to provide a vehicle identification number and license plate number.
Vehicle registration renewal also can be completed online at www.hiplates.com.
The old forms did not cite the option to renew at satellite city halls because the intent is to encourage renewals by mail or online, Kamimura said.
Of the Western states, Kamimura said, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Utah use “a similar method as a cost-saving measure.”
As for giving advance notice, he said a news release was issued on May 16, before the first renewal notices were mailed.
Increased Vehicle Weight Taxes
New state motor vehicle weight taxes increase today by 1 cent to: 1.75 cents per pound for vehicles up to 4,000 pounds; 2 cents a pound for vehicles over 4,000 to 7,000 pounds; and 2.25 cents a pound for vehicles over 7,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds. Vehicles over 10,000 pounds will be charged a flat $300, up from $150.
However, the law’s effective date does not mean that vehicles with a July 1, 2011, registration period will pay the higher rate, said Kamimura.
Rather, the effective date of the increase allows the city to begin programming and testing its computer programs to include the new rate, he said.
The current estimate is that the higher rate will be noted beginning with renewal notices for vehicles with an Oct. 31, 2011, expiration date.
“All initial registrations and delinquent renewals processed on Nov. 1 and thereafter will be required to pay the new rate,” Kamimura said.
To all who showed that the aloha spirit is still alive and well here. While approaching a No. 2 bus midmorning on June 22, I tripped and fell. Thanks to the lady bus driver, as well as passengers, both waiting and on the bus, my injuries were tended to. Follow-up by police and ambulance personnel was rapid and complete. Thank you all for your patience and care after my fall. — Roger C.
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